Students Overhear Some Chilling Words, Things Could Have Been Deadly If They Didn’t Act

Four high school students have been arrested after fellow students overheard them plotting to carry out a massacre at the school.

The four Summerville Union High School boys of Sonora, Calif. had detailed plans that “included names of would-be victims, locations, methods in which the plan was to be carried out,” Tuolumne County Sheriff Jim Mele said Saturday. The targets included students and teachers.

After the boys were caught, student Zach Marquez came forward at a school assembly to applaud the students who made the report.

“Thank you to whoever that individual was that came out and spoke and had the courage to stand up and see what was wrong because basically you saved our lives,” he said.

After school authorities heard about the plot, they called in the Tuolumne County Sheriff’s Department. Three students were arrested Wednesday. A fourth was taken into custody Friday. Sheriff Mele said there were no other partners in the plot. Mele did not release the names of the suspects.

“They were going to come on campus and shoot and kill as many people as possible at the campus,” Mele said. “It is particularly unsettling when our most precious assets —which are our students, their teachers — are targets for violence.”

“I believe, with all my heart, the reason we were able to stop this was because we have a level of trust within our community,” Mele said. “When you have a level of trust with the law enforcement, your education – we meet monthly, we meet constantly – you can do this.”

According to the sheriff’s office, the students had not yet obtained any weapons.

“(They were) pretty dog-gone close. (Close) enough to keep me up last night, to keep my detectives and lieutenants up last night. There was an event that would be coming up that they specifically talked about,” Mele said. “To talk about specifically what, I don’t want to, but enough to move forward…that we took four children away from their homes in order to protect other children.”

No motive for the planed attack has been released. On Monday, sheriff’s investigators were interviewing the students and adults targets in the plot, to help understand why certain individuals were selected.

“It is clear from past history such as Columbine and Sandy Hook, as well as other recent events in Oregon, that children are willing and capable of planning and carrying out acts of violence against fellow students and teachers on school grounds,” said Tuolumne County Assistant District Attorney Eric Hovatter. “While it is easy to say that would never happen in Tuolumne County, the public and local law enforcement must remain vigilant as they did here. That the suspects are young does not minimize the gravity of the conduct nor the potential for great harm to many people.”

h/t: Liftbump

Watch: Teen Accused Of Brutal Murder And Rape Just Uttered 10 Horrifying Words In Defense Of His Actions

On Wednesday, jury selection will begin in the trial of Philip Chism. The trial will be held in Essex Superior Court in Salem, MA, where Chism is accused of raping and killing his math teacher when he was 14. Allegedly, Chism, now 16, killed Colleen Gritzer on Oct. 22, 2013 while at school.

Chism’s mother stated that her son was going through a hard time with her recent divorce from his father and the stressful relocation of the family from Tennessee to Massachusetts.

“After she insulted me, that’s when I became the teacher,” Chism said. Chism was seen on video footage from the school’s camera system, following Gritzer into a bathroom. Police said she was raped, then her throat was slashed with a box cutter. Chism would not say what the insult was.

Chism will be tried as an adult. The defense is reportedly preparing a mental health defense. A confession by Chism was thrown out by the judge after it was determined that Chism did not understand his rights.

Police and prosecutors contend that after Chism killed Gritzer in the bathroom, he placed her body inside a rolling recycling bin, and dumped her body in the woods near the school. Video footage also confirms that Chism was seen leaving the school with the recycling bin, rolling it into the woods.

Police apprehended Chism as he was walking alone on a nearby highway, box cutter in his possession, and claiming that the blood was the “girl’s” blood. Also found in Chism’s possession were Gritzer’s identification, credit cards and underwear.

Chism’s trial may come at just the right time for him to escape the death penalty. Recent condemnation of the death penalty from Pope Francis may still be fresh in the mind of potential jurors.

Chism is being charged with rape, robbery and murder.

Do you think he should get the death penalty for killing his teacher when he was only 14 years old? Share and comment below.

Watch: Parents Spot Something About Allah On Kids’ Homework — And They’re Furious

According to reports, a number of parents in Walton County, Ga., were incensed when they learned of a controversial worksheet their children brought home from school last month.

WSB shared the concerns of several locals, including Michelle King, who were upset that students were being asked to identify the key tenets of Islam.

“Like my daughter had to learn the Shahid and the Five Pillars of Islam,” King said, “which is what you learn to convert.”

By the same token, she noted that “they never once learned anything about the Ten Commandments or anything about God.”

One parent was outraged by another passage, which asserts Allah is “the same God worshiped by Jews and Christians.” 

Steven Alsup noted that the assertion “seemed like half the truth to me,” noting that “they didn’t talk about the extreme Islamics.”

King summed up her feelings on the matter, concluding that the in-depth study of Islam “goes against my religion completely.”

A number of concerned parents have joined together in an effort to reclassify the religious studies courses as optional. In its defense of the assignments, the State Department of Education released a statement explaining that the “standard for seventh grade given to educators is to ‘compare and contrast the prominent religions in the Middle East: Judaism, Islam, and Christianity.’”

The agency source went on to assert that homework assigned with this goal in mind “is not an evaluation of any religion, nor is it a course in the belief system of any religion.”

Was this assignment appropriate? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

Obama Admin Is About To Get Shaken Up After The Resignation That Was Just Announced

One of the longest serving cabinet members in the Obama administration, Arne Duncan, is stepping down.

Duncan, who was appointed by President Obama in 2009 as the Secretary of Education, was previously the CEO of Chicago Public Schools.

In 2007, when Duncan was the CEO of the school system with some of the highest paid teachers, the Chicago Public School system could hardly brag about district achievements. Only 21 percent of the district’s 8th graders were proficient in reading, and only 13 percent were on grade level in math.

Those dismal statistics, many felt, disqualified Duncan as Secretary of the Department of Education. Nevertheless, the president appointed his long-time friend to the position.

The school children in the US, under Duncan’s leadership, have not fared much better; and some believe his policies have actually harmed the nation’s schoolchildren.

“The record will show these policies brought about minimum improvement…They also did considerable harm,” said Jack Jennings, founder of the nonpartisan Center on Education Policy

In typical administration fashion where, perceivably, the rules don’t seem to apply, Duncan began excusing US states from the requirements of the No Child Left Behind law of 2001. States were given exemptions, called “waivers,” from the requirements of the law.

One attempt by Duncan to use student test scores to identify poor teachers was rejected in some states. This created mistrust of the administration.  For states to get their waiver from the NCLB Act, they would have to comply with Duncan’s demands, in a sort of strong arm fashion.

While the Obama administration and Arne Duncan could not take direct responsibility for the Common Core Curriculum Standards, they were seen as using the standards to lord it over the states. Those demands and others resulted in a pushback by states seeing the CCCS as “Obamacore.”

“I’ve never seen both Democrats and Republicans want to curb the authority of the federal Department of Education the way they want to now,” said Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers.

While many state education leaders, districts, teachers and parents are likely glad to see Arne Duncan go, many more may be wondering how he got the job in the first place.

Do you think a CEO of a school system whose students cannot read and do math on grade-level should have ever gotten the nation’s highest position in education?

Revealed: Oregon Shooter Targeted This Group Of People, But Media Only Talks About Guns

The shooter in the Oct. 1 massacre at an Oregon community college wanted to kill Christians, according to witnesses who lived through the ordeal.

Details began to emerge as survivors told their stories to the press and began to post information on social media. One Twitter user, going by the handle Bohdi, tweeted about her grandmother’s experience while in a writing class in the Snyder building at Umpqua Community College in Roseberg, Ore. The first shot rang out at 10:38 a.m.

“The shooter was lining people up and asking if they were Christian,” Bohdi posted. “If they said yes, then they were shot in the head. If they said no, they were shot in the legs.”

Student Kortney Moore, 18, of Rogue River, Ore., said she heard a gunshot through a window and then saw her teacher shot in the head. The shooter, already in the room, forced everyone on the floor and then began to approach each person individually. According to Moore, the trigger man was asking her classmates to stand up and tell him their religion. He then began shooting at a rapid pace, she said.

Police identified the shooter as 26-year-old Chris Harper Mercer, who lived in the Roseburg area. He was armed with two handguns and a long gun, according to reports. He died in the incident, although law enforcement haven’t given specifics on how Mercer was killed. One official told an Oregon reporter the suspect was “neutralized.”

“He appears to be an angry young man who was very filled with hate,” the law enforcement official told the New York Times.

The FBI is involved in the investigation, attempting to figure out the motive for this deadly attack. While earlier information stated that more 13 died and 20 were injured in the shooting rampage, the latest confirmed reports to the Washington Post lists lower numbers with 10 dead, including the gunman, and several injured.

Investigators are also looking at statements posted Sept. 30 on the message board 4chan for clues to the shootings. The anonymous poster wrote a warning of a shooting in the Northwest, but it is unconfirmed by law enforcement that the writer of the post and the Mercer are the same person.

“Some of you guys are alright. Don’t go to school tomorrow if you are in the northwest,” the writer reportedly said in the post. “Happening thread will be posted tomorrow morning. so long space robots.”

Stories from those in the Snyder building at the time of the shooting tell chilling accounts of fear and panic.

Brady Winder, 23, of Portland, was in a class next door when he heard a series of gunshots that provoked a panicked rush through the front door. Hannah Miles, was in another classroom next door to where the shooting occurred. They heard noises and a teacher went to check on the neighboring class. Someone told them to get out and students began fleeing. A student was shot twice when she went to check on noises coming from the nearby classroom. She came back to her class telling everyone to leave immediately. The campus went on lockdown.

Students were evacuated from the building, one building at a time, with their hands up. They were patted down and put on a bus that transported them to the Douglas County Fairgrounds where 200 people, including family and Red Cross grief counselors, were waiting.

The area’s congressman, Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-Springfield) said the situation was heartbreaking and he is grateful to all first responders working the incident.

“Once we know more about what happened today, I plan to work with my colleagues in Congress to find ways to prevent tragedies such as these,” DeFazio said.